July 1, 2012

Dating in the Digital Era


Technology and Dating... Then and Now


Dating... Then.

You meet a guy at a bar. You exchange phone numbers. You suffer through 8 hours of work the next day and come home to the glorious blinking red light of your answering machine.

The two of you stay up all night talking on the phone. This is it. He is The One.

You make plans for the following night.

First date goes according to plan. Second date goes according to plan.

Somewhere around the third date, the phone calls start to fade out.

Insanity kicks in.

The 8 hours at work start to feel like a year. All you can think of is the damn blinking red light.

You arrive home. Nothing.

You stare at the phone, willing it to ring. You wonder what he’s doing, if he’s out with another girl, if he’s sitting home doing the same thing you’re doing.

You debate calling him. You debate leaving, but decide against it in case he does call and you’re not here.

You realize you know where he lives. You consider the unthinkable.

You pick up a bottle of vodka and your best girlfriend. In the off-chance you do get caught, at least you can blame it on the booze.

You do the “drive-by.” His car is nowhere to be found.

You return home with the exact same information you left with.

The light still isn’t blinking.

Dating… Now.

You meet a guy at a bar. You exchange phone numbers, email addresses and Facebook URL’s.

You get absolutely nothing done at work the next day because spend the entire time scouring his Facebook page and digging up any information on him that you possibly can.

You discover the names of his parents, best friends, the city he grew up in, and what he’s done during every weekend since the beginning of time.

The two of you stay up all night texting. You make plans for the following night.

First date goes according to plan. Each time he mentions a relative or friend, you pretend you have no idea who these people are, even though you could pick them out of a lineup.

Second date goes according to plan. There is no mention of a third date yet.

The texts are still coming, but less often.

You refresh his Facebook page every ten minutes. He is now friends with “Theresa Olsen” and “Megan Shea.” Theresa is a 42-year old married woman. Megan is a 22-year old single blonde.

You refresh Megan’s page every ten minutes.

You notice he has a new wall post from “Laura McMillian,” relaying some sort of private joke from the previous night.

You refresh Laura and Megan’s page every ten minutes.


Desperation kicks in. You log on to Facebook IM to see if he’s on. HE IS.

You wait.

You consider “poking” him.

Ah, the glorious popping noise. He wants to know what you’re doing tonight. Relief sets in.

Night falls. Still no text.

You log onto IM again. He’s on. You’re on. He sees you’re on. You log off, because in some sick way, this leaves you feeling the tiniest sense of power.

You check his page again. He is now friends with Tracy Carmen, who has also just left him a smiley face comment.

You come to the conclusion he is sleeping with Megan, Laura and Tracy.

You delete his phone number.

Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a teeny bit, but if, at some point, you’ve found yourself concocting some serious internet stalking missions, then you can agree with me that THIS is one of the many reasons why technology is evil. At least before, we could pretend the reason for the silent phone was because his life suddenly became very busy… he just got out of a relationship… you know, the usual lies we feed ourselves to avoid the simple truth that they’re fucking other people. Now, we have Facebook as a daily slap in the face to remind us of this.

But aside from dating and Facebook, I could on go for days about the madness of technology. To quote comedian Louis CK, “Right now, we live in an amazing world, and it’s wasted on the crappiest generation of spoiled idiots.”

In case you need a good laugh, feel free to watch this Louis CK video “Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy.”



The guy is 100% right. People would rather bitch about what their cell phone can’t do than to praise the nine million amazing things it can do, or complain about how long their flight was delayed instead of reveling in the fact that they’re sitting in a chair in the middle of the fucking sky.

Don’t get me wrong, I think technology is a wonderful thing and has made our lives a million times easier, but at the same time, it’s almost too easy. Think about old TV shows…

TV… Then.“Donna, we need to find David! Have you heard from him?”

“No, I called his house, his work and even the Peach Pit. I'm going to drive down to the beach and see if he’s there. You try calling Brandon, Dylan and Steve and see if anyone has heard from him.”


TV… Now.“Donna, we need to find David! Have you heard from him?”

“Yeah, I texted him. He’s at the beach. He should be here in about fifteen minutes.”


Ever notice how any “crisis” that occurs in modern television always contains a close-up of the cell phone displaying “LOW BATTERY” or “OUT OF SERVICE” in bright neon letters? Because naturally, without that, the storyline would be completely unrealistic.

And also, there’s no mystery anymore. My friends and I went out for lunch today and I swear, every other sentence out of our mouths was “Oh yeah! I read that!” And we’re not talking about the newspaper; we’re talking about each other’s fucking Facebook pages. We all already knew every single detail of what has transpired in each other’s lives over the past week, which doesn’t really leave you with a whole hell of a lot to talk about.

Now think about this from a high school reunion perspective…

High School Reunions… Then.“Oh my GOD! How have you been?”

“Great! My husband and I have three children and live in Colorado now! What about you?”
 

High School Reunions… Now.(Everyone just dumbly stares at each other because they already know everything about every person in the room.)

Again, I’m exaggerating, but this really happened to me. I bumped into a girl I went to high school with at the mall, and I just stared at her for a good thirty seconds like an idiot, because I had absolutely no idea what to say. In that thirty seconds, this is what went through my head:

My mouth starts to form the words: “Hey! How are you?”

My brain answers: “You already know how she is. Her boyfriend Jim McDonald proposed last week.”

My mouth tries to form some more basic questions: “So, are you still working over at the hospital? Where are you living these days?”

My brain answers: “You know she’s still working at the hospital. You also know she’s living in Plymouth with her fiancĂ© and their pug, Winnie.”

I was faced with two dilemmas: I either pretend not to know these details and ask anyway, thus I am a huge liar, or I can let on that I know this, thus I am a huge stalker. Either way, it’s a lose-lose. So instead, I duck my head in shame, mumble something about it being nice to see her, and walk away.

As much as I love iTunes, iPods, cell phones and Facebook… sometimes, I miss the days when things were simpler.

3 comments:

Aaron said...

You nailed it!!

Kurt Remlinger said...

This is awesome! I love the 90210 reference and how easy it is to find out info on others, leaving less room for suspense, OR, even wondering WHy they might leave off telling you a detail about themselves or their weekend, that you saw on their profile. haha
Good work!

erin said...

69!